Approximately 10 years ago, I used to feel sympathetic, yet confident, watching the national news as a New Englander. Yes we have our snow storms, but it is nothing compared to the panic of the pan-handle with hurricanes, or the helplessness of the West Coast with earthquakes, or the terror of the Mid-West with the obliterating tornadoes.
Over the last decade however, it seems that the events plaguing other areas of the nation are creeping closer and closer home to New Hampshire. Perhaps it is the prevalence of the global warming issue or the ability for everyone to capture startling footage on their mobile device, but regardless, I feel that the frequency and severity of storms in New Hampshire is more obvious, if not more prevalent.
In looking at the data from the National Climatic Data Center from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) there have been 1,590 "storm events" in New Hampshire from 6/1/06 - 6/1/12. These "events" have resulted in 5 deaths, 19 injuries and approximately $116,460,000 in property damage. In our small state, these numbers are significant.
To keep yourself, family and home safe, you should be ready for any disaster whether it is a snow storm, tornado or other natural disaster that keeps you isolated from the things you and your family need to survive.
Please find a list below of what should be included in any basic disaster supply kit according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
- Water- one gallon of water per person/per day for at least three days (This is for both drinking and sanitation.)
- Food - a three-day supply of non-perishable food and a manual can opener
- Radio - battery-powered or hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
- Batteries for radios and flashlights
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask for everyone in household to help filter air contaminants
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape to create "shelter-in-place"
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Local maps
- Cell phones with chargers, inverter or solar charger
This list includes the basic necessities for most families; however as every family is unique, you will also want to consider any medications you would need, pet food or baby formula.
I also find it extremely helpful not to allow my car to go below 1/2 a tank of gas in case of an emergency whether medical or weather related. I would also suggest that you keep copies of emergency contact information in a plastic bag including your insurance agent/company phone and policy number. For Holt Proctor McBriarty Insurance Agency customers, please refer to our claims page to get your company's 24-hour phone number.
Facing an emergency or natural disaster is extremely stressful in-and-of itself. It can happen quickly and without warning. Remember the ice storm of 2008? I remember being trapped in our house without electricity, heat or sufficient food for a couple of days as the downed lines prevented us from leaving our neighborhood. Without the help of neighbors, we would have been in a dangerous situation.
Hopefully with this reminder and a simple list, you can reduce your stress-level in an emergency and keep you and your family safe.